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I am regularly using airplanes for transportation between race destinations. In fact, travelling with a bike is always a very stressful situation. Usually, I am very afraid when I have stopovers, because most of the airport staff do not handle my bike bags politely. In line with this, when we arrive on final destination, bag is very dirty and some parts are even broken or damaged. Despite of many bags that I have already used, I am wondering if there is a possibility to create a bag at home.

Has anyone experience with homemade bags?

I am still looking for appropriate material. Wood seems to be very heavy, whilst cardboard boxes are too soft.

What do you think?

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    can you describe the type of damages your bike has experienced? Nov 27 '17 at 4:21
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If you travel regularly, buy a decent, high quality hard shell or accept your bike will be damaged. Even with the very best case, your bike could be damaged - either accept it as a cost of travel, or purchase travel insurance that covers the bike.

Depending on your travel and carriers, you will probably find a home made case will offer poorer protection and cost more in baggage charges due to it being heavier. Its unlikely a home build case can be made light and strong compared to a commercial hard shell.

Also consider the cost of a damaged bike is may be far more than the cost of repairs. If you bike is badly damaged going to your destination, your entire holiday could be ruined. Travel insurance can help here as you would not need to be concerned about cost of repairs at destination (e.g. say you bend a derailleur and the only available replacement at the bike shop is Ultegra or XTR, insurance would cover the repair cost).

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    Agreed. Also bear in mind that airlines will only honor a claim of damage against the bike if the container is damaged. So soft-sided carriers won't do you any good. I respect the DIY spirit, but I'd probably go with a purpose-built commercial case. If I were doing it myself, I might try making it out of coroplast with a skeleton of aluminum strips.
    – Adam Rice
    Nov 29 '17 at 2:52
  • The insurance and the airline may both prefer a commercial solution designed for the purpose rather than a DIY approach as well
    – Chris H
    Nov 29 '17 at 11:53
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Packing things for travel or freight is a balancing act between convenience, protection, and weight.

A wooden case would be heavy, or thin enough to be light leads to less protection.

If you do make a case, look to making it layered with protection from sharp thing on the outside plus softer padding on the inside to absorb shock.

There are computer/server packing gear that involves filling a soft plastic tube with blowfoam and letting it expand around the item. If you did it carefully, the bike/wheels should be able to pop out of the foam with minimal/no disturbance. If your hard case was built like a big clamshell with clamps and it opened wide, that would be ideal.

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  • Here's something I saved away in 2013, for my tools. criggie.org.nz/bikes/toolbeds.pdf Imagine doing something like that inside a plastic box, with corner protection. Or a lightweight aluminium box frame with corrugated cardboard and plastic sides.
    – Criggie
    Nov 27 '17 at 7:46
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While you want to take your own bike with you, have you looked into Bike Friday's foldable bikes that are the "same size" (= geometry) as a regular bike, but fold into a Samsonite suitcase?

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    Good point but OP said "race destinations" but doesn't clarify if its a bike to race on or if the bike is merely transport. OP may have a specific bike that needs to be transported.
    – Criggie
    Nov 27 '17 at 22:09
  • Welcome, Bill! I'd interpret the question as wanting to transport the bike the asker will be racing on. As such, I don't think this really answers the question but I agree that it could be relevant to other people in a similar (though not identical) situation to the asker, so I think this is a useful contribution. Please do have a look at our tour for more information about the site. Nov 28 '17 at 11:11

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